The outgrowth of tiller buds in Poaceae is influenced by the ratio of red to far-red light irradiance (R:FR). At each point in the plant canopy, R:FR is affected by light scattered by surrounding plant tissues. This paper presents a three-dimensional virtual plant modelling approach to simulate local effects of R:FR on tillering in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum). ¿ R:FR dependence of bud outgrowth was implemented in a wheat model, using three hypothetical responses of bud extension to R:FR (unit step, curvilinear and linear response). Bud break occurred when a threshold bud length was reached. Simulations were performed for three plant population densities. ¿ In accordance with experimental observations, fewer tillers per plant were simulated for higher plant population densities. The linear and curvilinear responses caused a delay in the increase in tiller number compared with experimental data. The unit step response approached experimental results best. It is suggested that a model based on relatively simple relations can be used to simulate degree of tillering. ¿ This study has shown that the virtual plant approach is a promising tool with which to address crop morphological and ecological research questions where the determining factors act at the level of the individual plant organ.